In 2010/11 we were drawn against Braga in the Champions League and had two very contrasting results. Here’s how the games were seen by regular blogger Gf60
Arsenal 6 Braga 0 Euro Cup. 15 September 2010
A recently conducted survey of one reveals a fascinating bit of information…namely that this year we are more likely to score 6 at home playing against 11 men than we are against 10 men.
It must be understood that the person surveyed (me) just had to immediately rewatch the game so’s to capture all the nuances accompanied this time by a bottle of Merlot. What with the rewinds, slow mo and what have you, it was half time and the bottle was empty already. What else could a man do?
Hence these thoughts are somewhat late today. Rational brain was a trifle sluggish earlier this fine morning. Indeed it required another replay after breakfast to ensure the thoughts were related to what was felt last night.
Yes, Braga had a bad day at the office. Yes, some of our play was as good as we’ve ever seen. No Braga cannot be a BAD side…knocking out Seville and Celtic previously suggests they have a bit of form around even if they did recently lose to Porto who we put away quite comfortably at home last year…and yes, they will have learned that you cannot allow Cesc time to play. Especially when Jack the lad’s in the same sort of mood and form as his skipper.
Add to that the other nine who also played more than a bit, not to mention Carlos, Denilson and Manny when they came on and the recipe for Portugese stew was complete. First take 11 healthy players (and substitutes) and carve them up into little tiny pieces. Add seasoning and serve to the 55000 odd Gooners. Definitely a meal to be savoured. Now’t for the brave Braga fans…other than sackcloth and ashes.
But, as is natural for an old gooner, questions still remain? Can Gael Clichy be taught that when he feels a grey, dizzy spell coming on he must just launch the ball into row ZZ? Can Andrey remember to play for the whole 90 minutes? (That’s actually a frightening thought. Cesc, Jack and Andrey hitting 100% together Mmm.) Can Mr Fawlty continue to look like a real goalkeeper? He didn’t have much to do last night, but what he has done so far this year, has to make some people at least start rethinking. Of the three goals we’ve conceded this season, none, imo, can be laid at Manuel’s door.
And can Marouane stay injury free? He’s a wonderful asset.
Lastly, for other old farts, a very nice piece from Kenny Dalglish. Thankyou kind sir.
Braga 2 Arsenal 0 Euro Cup. 8 December 2010
The kindest thing I read this morning was that “We went down like a cheap hooker.”
Unkind things do not belong in an old man’s thoughts, but:
Two additional linespeople behind the goals are as much use as (simile deleted on the grounds of good taste). Here I want to have a rant about Eboue’s yellow card. Unless that particular official was carrying a white stick, he could so easily have had a chat to the ref and avoided a palpably incorrect decision.
Many of you may well ask “What about the penalty?” Ah yes. Indeed it was a penalty BUT having said many times that the best way of spotting a dive is when the arms are raised before the contact, I’m not absolutely aghast. Carlos was guilty.
Had he left his arms where they were supposed to be and not anticipated the chop, penalty, 1-0 up and who knows? I for one am not going to totally blame the ref despite the unfortunate consequences. He can be blamed for so much else. But can he be blamed for our having one shot on target all night? We should be strong enough and clever enough to by-pass piss poor referees.
Our medical staff said Cesc was fit. The linesperson behind the goal could have seen that Cesc wasn’t fit. And what happens? Answers on a postcard. Methinks the medical staff have a great deal to answer for.
With a side that is just a trifle, a mere soupcon, a teeny weeny bit vulnerable to breakaways, wtf was Song on the bench for? We needed speed in recovery and whilst there are many things I do like about Denilson, speed of recovery ain’t one of ’em.
Having used all 3 subs, all attackers even after it was obvious that we would be lucky to get 0 last night, nobody was delegated to wait back when Manny was injured. I love attacking, but when prudence rather than gung ho is required, words simply fail me. Why leave Denilson back and let Gibbs go up? One’s slow, the other’s quick. Sorry Arsene, that was not your wisest move.
Neither, quite honestly, was suggesting that this is the strongest squad you’ve ever had. When they bend like reeds in the wind without the strength to straighten after the wind’s blown out, it simply ain’t.
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